My wish has always been create a sense of community among Compulsive Eaters and those who feel they are low on self-esteem, who would like to come out of their shells, and begin to live life fully. To that end I would like to begin by sharing something of my experience on how to recover from compulsive eating.
I believe Compulsive Eating can be overcome and left behind for good.
I am living proof of this philosophy. A Compulsive Eater for many years I finally gave up on dieting and obsessive exercise and started instead to believe in me. The nagging feelings of anxiety and doubt that had plagued me for over a decade had kept me stuck in fear and denial. Not because of the feelings themselves but because of the debilitating message I had taught myself: that I was weak, unimportant and could never successfully take care of myself. Therefore, when I felt overwhelmed I never even tried to solve the problem at hand. I already believed that I would fail. Rather, I frantically squashed that negative or scary feeling with food.
This behaviour allowed me to comfort and nurture myself on one hand yes, but ultimately I was only digging a deeper and deeper pit of despair. I never solved the real problem with food so it still sat there waiting to be resolved. I had added to that unpleasant feeling, the terrible experience of all the negative thoughts I then felt about my body and myself for being so “weak” and unable to resist food once more.
How to Recover from Compulsive Eating
The solution was easier in many ways than any diet I had ever tried and perhaps the most difficult yet exhilarating experience of my life. The experience of self-discovery awaited me. I needed to explore where I learned and bought the idea that I was incapable of successfully navigating life’s pitfalls on my own. Where had I come to believe that I was undeserving of everything? That my needs were worth less than those of others. I needed to expose the falsehood of those beliefs.
I needed to explore the truth about who I was and what I was capable of. In so doing I found a sense of myself that I had lost long ago and a confidence I I had never known before.
I found the strength to face my feelings – the good and the scary – as they arose. I was amazed to discover that food had lost its power. My perceived lack of control had really only been a cry for comfort and love and now that I was capable of giving that to myself I no longer needed the food to get me through.
Food became just one of those things that I did as part of a daily routine to sustain life, not my whole existence. I could now go out to a restaurant and order anything I wanted without worrying about fat or calorie content, what others might think or how undeserving I was. I also began to notice how many people around me were focused on their weight or on their latest attempt to lose it.
The conversations at work and among my friends always seemed to end up being about food, weight loss and negative body talk. I felt anxious at first. Who was I to think that I could go about my life without obsessing about food and weight? Was I copping out thinking of myself as a Compulsive Eater and not merely someone lacking in willpower? As these thoughts arose I felt increasingly stressed and saddened at the thought of returning to a life of obsession with food and hating my body, my self. When I thought of the freedom and good feelings I had experienced by letting go of diets – scary yes but exhilarating – there was no way I was going back!
Now, over a decade later, I am still enjoying the thrill of self-confidence and positive regard for my body. The extra weight I had been carrying all those years ago gradually fell away and for many years now I have been content and comfortable in my body.
If my story sounds like your own or that of someone you know and care about, read on and discover what others have to say about their Compulsive Eating experience and what you can do to get help. Until next time, take good care of yourself. M.